7th Doctor
Serial 7W/B
Written by James Parsons and Andrew Stirling-Brown
Directed by Gary Russell
Sound Design and Music by David Darlington

Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Andrew Collins (Drew Shahan), William Hoyland (Premier Jaeger), Zehra Naqvi (Charlotte Singh), Duncan Wiseby (Ryan Wareing), Ann Bryson (Gina Grewal), Joy Elias-Rilwan (Lula).

‘You’re listening to LIVE 34.’

‘LIVE 34 -- news on the hour, every hour -- LIVE 34 -- broadcasting to Colony 34 all day, every day -- LIVE 34 -- constantly updated every minute of every hour -- LIVE 34 -- sport, weather, business, local news, interplanetary affairs -- LIVE 34 -- live, independent, accurate, comprehensive -- LIVE 34 -- all news, all day, every day -- LIVE 34.’

‘Reports are coming in of an explosion...’

‘On the line now is the leader of the FDP...’

‘The President is about to begin his address...’

‘We can see bodies in the wreckage...’

  • Featuring the the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex, this story takes place after the Big Finish audio Dreamtime.
  • Released: September 2005
    ISBN: 1 84435 099 1
Part One
(drn: 26'04")

Month 9, Day 1, Hour 25. Drew Shahan hosts the midnight news on LIVE 34, the premier talk-radio station in Colony 34. An explosion in District F, the business district of First City -- the third such explosion in three nights -- has just brought down a government planning office. According to reporter Charlotte Singh, colony security forces claim that there have been casualties, although the offices should have been empty at that time of night and the security forces have not released the names of the victims. Supporters of the Freedom and Democracy Party have apparently claimed responsibility for the bombings, although known FDP representatives claim that these messages were faked by their opponents. Later tonight, a representative of the FDP is to appear in studio for an interview.

The FDP is demanding that Premier Jaeger hold open elections, which have been postponed for five years in the face of grave security concerns. Years of growing unemployment and power supply problems have led to civil unrest, and three years ago, after the opposition leader was arrested for sedition, Jaeger introduced emergency powers prohibiting unsanctioned public gatherings and political parties. With the colony under constant threat, it was felt that the colonists needed a strong leader, and that an election campaign would only engender elements of doubt and weakness. However, despite this temporary curtailment of certain freedoms, civil unrest continues to grow, the income gap between the inner and outer districts has widened, and the entire chamber of deputies has been suspended on charges of corruption. Recently, the FDP began making its presence known and demanding reform, but Jaeger claims that their ostensibly peaceful platform is a front for violent insurrectionists -- and it appears that their true colours have been revealed by the recent bombings.

The FDP’s representative, Resident Doctor, has been delayed at a security checkpoint, and Drew must conduct their interview over the telephone. The Doctor congratulates Drew on his attempts to keep the news fair and balanced, which may not have been the safest decision for Drew’s late predecessor; however, he also questions whether Drew is going far enough in his attempts to find out the truth. As a journalist, it should be his duty to ensure that the news doesn’t become propaganda, and simply reporting the facts may not be enough when the facts he’s reporting are being supplied to him. When asked about the bombings, the Doctor does not condemn them outright; he rather pointedly reminds anyone who might be listening that this sort of action just plays into the hands of their enemies, but he also claims that, whatever the security forces might be saying, the buildings were empty when they were bombed, and nobody was hurt.

The interview is interrupted by the sound of a much larger explosion. The Doctor breaks off the interview, leaving Drew hanging for a moment, but the anchor pulls himself together and begins covering this breaking story. Security forces have directed Charlotte Singh to the scene of the explosion: one of the city’s main vehicle manufacturing factories, where a late shift was operating. The main workshop has blown apart, and medical forces have yet to arrive. The other three bombings targeted government buildings, but this time a civilian building has been targeted, and it’s obvious to everyone that there has been considerable loss of life.

Premier Jaeger now addresses his people in a live broadcast. These bombings have made it clear that their enemies have no respect for innocent lives and will not rest until everything the colonists hold dear has been destroyed. Jaeger urges the terrorists to give themselves up for a fair and impartial trial while they still can; if they do not, they will be hunted down like the animals they are. He also announces that he has reluctantly extended the scope of the emergency powers act; anyone suspected of supporting subversive elements will be arrested before they can do any harm, and held in secure locations pending trial once the crisis has passed. Jaeger also calls on the FDP to stop trying to force an election in the face of such a grave threat -- and announces that his security forces are gathering evidence to prove that the FDP is no more than a front for the insurrectionists who are attempting to destroy Colony 34’s way of life.

Drew recaps the top headlines and switches back to Charlotte Singh, who confirms that the second explosion of the night was much worse than the first. The government planning office probably collapsed because it was in such a poor state of repair; however, the second explosion was much more powerful, and of the 445 employees on the factory’s night shift, only half a dozen survivors have been identified. Resident Doctor arrived in the area shortly after the explosion and dragged Charlotte’s producer into the building, trying to rescue survivors; however, security forces subsequently arrived and prevented him from returning. The Doctor claims that there are still survivors trapped in the wreckage, but as he speaks, the damaged building gives way completely, forcing back the security teams and paramedics. If there were any survivors in the building, it’s unlikely that they have survived its complete collapse.

At Drew’s request, Charlotte fits the Doctor with a mic so they can continue their interview. In response to the Premier’s accusations, the Doctor states that the FDP abhors violence and would never resort to such tactics. This explosion is very different from the others, and even if FDP supporters had been responsible for the earlier bombings, it would make no sense for them to suddenly stop targeting empty buildings and start killing the very people whose support they’re trying to gain. Drew speculates that the bombing could be the work of recent immigrants protesting their restriction to the poverty-stricken outer districts, or possibly the alien monsters rumoured to be lurking in the colony’s shadows. However, the Doctor insists that Colony 34’s problems are home-grown and not the result of external factors. He suggests that, rather than concentrating on the bombers’ identities, Drew should concentrate on the results of their actions -- and think carefully about just how secure he feels in a society where the government can do whatever it likes in the name of security.

Drew now asks the Doctor if a new leader has been chosen for the FDP; its most recent leader was assassinated, and her predecessor was killed in a transport accident that remains under investigation. The Doctor reveals that he’s agreed to become the FDP’s new leader, as he doesn’t want anyone else to take the risk. He also reveals that the FDP has finally received a message from the Colony Central Commission, who have accepted their petition to force an election. In 16 days’ time, the people of Colony 34 will be asked to decide whether they still trust Jaeger to lead them. And to be sure there’s no “miscommunication,” the FDP have already disseminated the CCC’s communiqué to every media outlet in the colony.

This marks the end of the interview, and Charlotte then wraps up the news report, announcing that the death toll from the factory explosion has reached 400 and is expected to climb. In other news, power cuts continue to affect large areas of Second and Third Cities; the government is enforcing further emergency measures to reduce the amount of power used in the colony; security forces have quelled an illegal strike at a manufacturing plant; and the drought continues after two hot, dry weeks without rain. This ends the midnight news; the next news summary will begin at Midnight:30.

Part Two
(drn: 28'59")

Month 9, Day 6, Hour 24:50. Power has been restored to most of the three cities after two days of power outages, which the government has blamed on sabotage by supporters of the FDP. Premier Jaeger and Resident Doctor are on the campaign trail, and Jaeger is dismissing claims that the power crisis is due to critical fuel reserves; according to him, the colony still has enough untapped resources to fuel a dozen such colonies for a thousand years, and the power outages are due to FDP supporters bombing power stations and harming the most vulnerable members of society in an attempt to spread panic and fear. The Doctor takes the position that the colony’s resources are all but exhausted, and that the only way forward is to open up trading links with other colonies -- but the people don’t appear to be listening, and the Doctor’s recent public appearance ended in violence when angry citizens stormed the stage. In other news, the hot, dry spell continues with no end in sight.

The headlines are followed by an edition of Wareing’s World; Drew warns listeners that they may find this week’s edition somewhat disturbing. Ryan Wareing presents a report that he prepared on the 2nd day of the 9th month, regarding the rebel forces said to be at work in the colony. One name keeps appearing in these rumours: the Rebel Queen. Who is she? Is she really behind the recent terrorist attacks? What is her agenda? Wareing himself suspected that she was only a creation of the media, until he received an anonymous tip directing him outside the city walls for an interview with the Rebel Queen herself. He was given little time to prepare himself, but decided to take the risk and went along to First City’s South Gate, behind which lies the poverty-stricken residential areas of the outer city. Everything that follows is taken from his secret recordings of the experience.

Wareing’s contact meets him, bundles him into a car and drives for two hours, after which he is told to walk to “the Filth” to meet his next escort. Before abandoning Wareing, his driver warns him to be careful, as a curfew is in effect. The Filth is an open sewer in the middle of the street; the poverty and degradation is beyond anything Wareing has ever seen, and it seems to stretch on forever. Finally, a young woman named Lula contacts Wareing and ushers him out of the road moments before a “meat wagon” arrives to collect two dead, naked bodies that have been left lying in the street. According to Lula, murder is a common occurrence around here, as people fight over scraps of food; the bodies are inevitably stripped of their clothing and left where they lie.

Lula blindfolds Wareing and leads him on a circuitous route to what feels like an underground room. There, he is left to wait until a young woman, slightly older than Lula, arrives and introduces herself as Ace; she’s gone by many names, but has settled on this as her favourite. Ace tells Wareing that this is the cesspit, a part of the city that stretches all the way from the outer districts to the sea; due to travel restrictions, no one from the inner districts ever comes here, and most people are unaware that an area of such extreme poverty even exists. Ace claims to have documentation proving that the government is responsible for the neglect and media censorship that created the cesspit, but Wareing now insists that, as he has obeyed all of her instructions, the interview must be conducted on his terms. People want to know about the Rebel Queen, who she really is, and why she feels she must kill innocent people to achieve her agenda. Ace insists that she and her friends have killed no one, and that she arrived here more or less by accident; however, she also claims to have come from Earth, which is obviously untrue, since Earth was abandoned centuries ago. Rather than answer Wareing’s questions, she offers to tell him her whole story -- on her terms.

(Due to security regulations, certain specific references to people and events have been censored from the following section of the interview.)

According to Ace, she arrived on Colony 34 in a beautiful, snow-covered valley -- and, although she covers herself, she inadvertently implies that she arrived with friends. At first, the valley seemed beautiful and serene, until she found the wreckage of a crashed plane that appeared to have been carrying prisoners. One of the prisoners, fatally injured, told Ace that he used to be a member of XXXXX until he became disillusioned with its corruption and fell out with XXXXX. His wife and children had also been arrested and sent to XXXXX, and before he died, he begged Ace to save them. Ace and her friends rescued the man’s family, along with several other prisoners -- and in the process, learned that terrible things were happening on this colony. Ace now admits that she bombed the planning offices in order to get inside and find evidence of the atrocities being committed, but insists that the extensive damage was only caused because the buildings were in such a poor state of repair; she was careful to ensure that the buildings were empty at the time, and claims that the government lied about the casualty reports. She also denies any responsibility for the explosion at the factory, and indeed claims that this “terrorist” attack, like so many others, was staged by XXXXX in order to discredit the opposition and keep the colony’s population in a state of fear. Wareing remains sceptical, but Ace insists that the archives she recovered from the planning offices contain proof of everything she’s been saying. The “meat wagons” are out in force these days, and they’re not just picking up dead people from the cesspits any more; there have been several disappearances in the outer and even the inner districts of the three cities.

Still sceptical, Wareing questions whether Ace has links to the FDP as Jaeger has claimed, but she avoids the question when he asks her whether she and Resident Doctor know each other. Instead, she insists upon proving her point by taking Wareing to meet some of the people she and her friends have rescued. There’s some tension between Lula and Ace, since Lula’s brother died in the plane crash and Ace learned his fate before his sister did; nevertheless, Lula agrees to take Wareing to speak with some of the people who have allegedly fallen foul of the true leaders of Colony 34. (For the purposes of the broadcast, their names and voices have been changed to protect their identities.) “Marcus” was arrested, beaten, and interrogated for three weeks after being spotted speaking to a man believed to be a known opponent of the government; he never found out who the man in question was. “Antonio” used to be a site manager at the mines until he complained about working conditions; for this, he was accused of being a rebel infiltrator, taken to a detention centre, and tortured for four months. He’ll never walk properly again. “Maria” used to be married to a friend of the Premier, until her entire family was arrested for no apparent reason; after days of sleep deprivation and interrogation, Maria agreed to confess to whatever the security forces wanted so that her children would be set free, but once she had done so, the Premier himself led her children into the cell and shot them both in the head as she watched.

After showing Wareing some of the horrifying documents she recovered from the state archives, Ace blindfolds him and lads him back out into the cesspit, where Lula is to lead him back to the South Gate. Unfortunately, a security team is waiting for them instead. Ace uses a stun grenade to drive back the officers, who are wearing a frightening new form of body armour that might explain the rumours that alien monsters have been spotted in the colony. She and Wareing then flee through the back alleys to a small shack containing a 1962 Black Vincent motorcycle, with some improvements. Ace pre-programmes the Vincent’s GPS map to guide Wareing back to the South Gate, and makes him promise that he’ll broadcast everything he’s seen today, uncensored and unedited. In the meantime, she must close down the safe house he saw, and hope that Lula didn’t give away too much to the security forces. Wareing returns to the inner city to make his documentary, taking with him a deep sense of respect for the woman known as the Rebel Queen.

This ends tonight’s edition of Wareing’s World; next, the midnight news.

Part Three
(drn: 23'33")

Month 9, Day 10, Hour 21:50. Top headlines: a security operation is underway in the outer district of Second City, but no further details have been made available. An explosion at a senior citizens’ home in Third City has killed 67 and injured over 100 others; nobody has claimed responsibility, but a government spokesman has placed blame on the Rebel Queen and her insurgents. In response, Premier Jaeger has introduced further security measures and grounded all air transports until after the election. Resident Doctor, still on the campaign trail, was shot at by a grieving man whose mother died in the rest home explosion; however, the Doctor’s injuries were superficial, nobody else was hurt, and the gunman was released after questioning. Jaeger is in a strong majority with only five days remaining before the election. In other news, LIVE 34 has received over 400 complaints regarding last week’s edition of Wareing’s World, which was found by a government inquiry to be biased and inaccurate. The inquest into the apparent suicide of Ryan Wareing on the day of the broadcast has yet to release its findings. Also, the drought has finally broken, and it is expected to rain heavily for the next several days.

Drew then switches over to Charlotte Singh, who is out on the streets for another episode in the series Live With; tonight, she’ll be going on tour with a paramedic. First, she reports that construction workers digging the foundations for Second City’s main hospital’s new maternity wing have unearthed the fossilised remains of monstrous animals from this planet’s prehistory. In life, the creatures would have stood three storeys tall; even in death, the skeletons flicker eerily in the torchlight as if struggling to climb out of the mud. Charlotte then enters the hospital and meets the paramedic she’ll be riding with, a young offworlder named Hex who claims to be from Colony 48. Normally, Hex would be riding with a partner, but she’s called in sick, and due to staff shortages and Charlotte’s first-aid training, the hospital has reluctantly bent the rules and allowed Hex to go out alone with Charlotte.

Hex runs through his checklist to make sure that the ambulance has all the equipment he needs, but is distracted by the arrival of a security convoy and a large black vehicle almost like an unmarked ambulance. The guards bundle a figure out of the ambulance and into the hospital, but Hex and Charlotte are too far away to make out any details, and in any case this isn’t part of the programme. Hex sets off on his rounds, and soon receives a call to D-Unit 181 in District S, where an old woman has fallen through the floor of her house, presumably due to shoddy workmanship. On the way there, Charlotte questions Hex about his work, and Hex explains that his father lost his job as a dockworker after a strike and that his grandmother thus suggested that he find a job there would always be a need for. He changes the subject when Charlotte asks what kind of docks can be found on the landlocked Colony 48, however. He does admit that he’s faced some prejudice due to being from off-world, and opines that the rumours of monsters and aliens in the colony are just ways for people to vent their prejudices about offworlders while still pretending to themselves that they’re being reasonable.

At this point, Drew cuts in on the transmission to deliver breaking news: the aforementioned security operation in Second City has captured the Rebel Queen. Security forces stormed her stronghold and overwhelmed the opposition; the Rebel Queen survived, but the extent of her injuries is not known. Drew then switches back to Charlotte, who informs Hex of the development and speculates whether the mysterious black ambulance was related to the Rebel Queen’s arrest. Hex, distracted by the news for some reason, nearly drives straight into a pothole in the middle of the street; there’s no way to circle around, and he and Charlotte are thus forced to continue on foot, carrying Hex’s portable med kit and sheltering under an umbrella that he was given by a friend.

When Hex and Charlotte arrive at Unit 181, they are greeted by a friendly old woman named Gina, who has been listening to their programme on the radio. She explains that she heard movement in her back garden, and that the floor gave way beneath her when she went to investigate. A gentleman heard her calling for help, pulled her out of the hole and gave her first aid; however, Gina finds that she can’t remember what he looked like, or exactly when it was that he left. Hex confirms that Gina will be all right and that her injured leg has been properly dressed, and decides to investigate the hole in her living room floor, as he suspects that he knows who helped Gina and why he, Hex, was really called here. From the looks of things, the sudden torrential rains have overflowed the sewers, causing Gina’s floor to subside into a pit that smells of sulphur and ash. At Hex’s request, the increasingly nervous Charlotte tosses him a scoop from the fireplace, and he discovers that the pit contains bones -- but not fossils like those at the hospital. He’s found the skull of a child, with a bullet hole in its head -- and it’s not the only one. Gina’s home has collapsed into a mass grave. Hex realises that he was summoned here to find this so that his discovery would go out live on the radio, but even as he realises this, security guards burst into the apartment and the transmission is cut off in the middle of Charlotte’s protests.

The somewhat shaken Drew apologises to his listeners for the break in transmission. He then receives a special bulletin: LIVE 34’s private and commercial sponsors have withdrawn their support from the station, and from now on, all financial and editorial control of the independent station will be undertaken by a state-appointed body. LIVE 34 will now go off the air for 25 hours while reorganisation takes place, but Drew assures his loyal listeners that they’ll be back the day after tomorrow. Hopefully.

Part Four
(drn: 27'50")

Month 9, Day 16, Hour 5. Drew Shahan is broadcasting live from Colony Square, where the citizens have gathered to celebrate Premier Jaeger’s overwhelming election victory. The Premier declared victory at 2:56 this morning, once his share passed 51%; the margin of victory has only grown since, and now, with all but a few ballots counted, he has won over 80% of the vote. Government sources have dismissed claims of voter intimidation and other issues of malpractice as propaganda, and although the FDP have declared their intention to register an appeal with the Colony Central Commission, all inter-colony communications have been blocked to prevent external interference in the election. In other news, the inquiry into the death of Resident Doctor has concluded that the crash of his transport in Beacon Hills was due to driver error; unfortunately, the remoteness of the crash site has made it difficult to recover the bodies. Also, LIVE 34 has apologised for fostering unfounded rumours and causing unnecessary alarm over the events that allegedly occurred during the last edition of Live With; the programme will not be repeated, and Charlotte Singh no longer works for the broadcaster.

As celebrations spread out into the surrounding streets, security forces move in to prevent insurgents from infiltrating the crowd, but the atmosphere remains joyous as Jaeger emerges from his residence to address his people. He is grateful for his new mandate to govern, and feels that the people have demonstrated that they will accept whatever methods are required to destroy those who would spread terror and discontent out of jealousy for the colony’s prosperous way of life. Jaeger now announces that his security forces have finally gathered enough evidence to expose the FDP as nothing more than a front for the self-styled Rebel Queen, herself nothing more than a common criminal and murderer. To prove his point, Jaeger shows the crowd a recording in which the subdued “Ace” confesses to murdering innocent civilians in an attempt to overthrow the legitimate government and install a puppet leader who would strip the colony of its resources for her alien masters.

Jaeger now has his guards drag the so-called Rebel Queen out on stage so the crowd can see for herself just how pathetic she really is. As Jaeger rails against her vicious acts of murder and terrorism, the beaten Ace pulls herself together just long enough to claim that they tortured a false confession out of her by drugging her and threatening her friends’ lives. Jaeger snaps and strikes her across the face, but then realises that he’s blown his cool in front of the crowd. He apologises, but insists that he was infuriated him beyond reason by Ace’s lies; even now, she’s trying to paint him as the villain, when she’s been exposed as the evil pawn of aliens who wished to infiltrate and conquer the colony to use its resources for their own ends. Jaeger stirs up the crowd until they’re baying for the Rebel Queen’s blood -- but before he can order Ace’s execution, a furious and familiar voice speaks up, denouncing him. The Doctor has returned...

The stunned Jaeger fails to prevent the Doctor from taking the stage, seizing the mic, and revealing that Jaeger and his followers staged the transport crash that was supposed to kill him -- and that he allowed them to believe he was dead so that he could take care of things without interference. Jaeger pulls himself together and orders his guards to execute the Doctor alongside his comrade, but to the Premier’s shock, the guards hesitate and then turn their guns on him instead. After checking to ensure that Ace will be all right, the Doctor reveals that Jaeger’s guards have just received new instructions; the CCC has declared yesterday’s election null and void, because neither of the designated candidates actually stood for election. Jaeger tries to order the guards to arrest the Doctor, but they’re unsure what to do -- and in the confusion, Charlotte Singh unexpectedly enters the broadcast booth and grabs the radio mic from the bewildered Drew Shahan. Once she has the crowd’s attention, she turns the explanations over to the Doctor, who reveals that Premier Jaeger did not actually stand for election -- because the man on the podium is not who he appears to be. Jaeger protests vainly as Hex walks out on stage, pushing a decrepit old man in a wheelchair... and the Doctor reveals that this man is the real Leo Jaeger.

The Doctor invites Hex to take the microphone and tell his story, and Hex explains that some of Ace’s friends overheard the Live With broadcast and rescued him and Charlotte from the security forces. Once the heat had died down, they returned to the hospital to investigate the mysterious black ambulance, and through a crack in the blacked-out windows of the hospital’s “unused” wing, they spotted security guards and medical personnel surrounding an old, scarred man -- the real Leo Jaeger -- hooked up to a life-support system. Once the powers that be believed the Doctor to be dead, he was able to help Hex and Charlotte investigate, and thus the truth was revealed. When Jaeger was first elected, he was a handsome and popular man, and his reforms really were for the good of the colony -- but then he contracted a minor disease, and complications from the ensuing surgery left him scarred for life. Fearing that his physical deformity would affect his popularity, he had his associates find someone who looked similar to him, and following a little plastic surgery, he acquired a double who made public appearances for him while the real Jaeger worked behind the scenes.

Unfortunately, as time went on, people began to forget that the double wasn’t the real Leo Jaeger, and slowly he began to place his own friends in positions of power, keeping the real Jaeger alive only for his biometric ID. Soon he and his cronies were in charge of Colony 34... but it then turned out that the planet had fewer natural resources than the colonists had first believed. As the colony began to suffer a power crisis and his popularity waned, the false Jaeger resorted to desperate measures to retain control, faking terrorist attacks and spreading rumours about alien invasions and then drafting emergency powers that enabled him to “postpone” the next election. Someone on his staff then realised that human bodies provide an excellent source of fuel if processed properly. At first, they simply raided the cities’ graves and mortuaries, but as the demand for energy continued to grow, political prisoners and other dissidents began to “disappear.” The inner council then set up an advertising campaign to attract immigrants to 34; those with valuable skills sometimes found good jobs and homes, but the vast majority of immigrants, lured to 34 with promises of a better life, were shunted off to the outer districts and the cesspits, where they were left to rot until the government needed to harvest them for fuel.

The Premier dismisses his victims as worthless, to the Doctor’s fury; the rumours of monsters are as nothing compared to the true evil he’s unearthed here. Hex quietly points out that Ace is in pretty bad shape, and the Doctor, deciding that his work is done, turns matters over to Charlotte. The crowd has turned completely against the Premier due to these revelations, and the Doctor now announces that the CCC has designated Charlotte as their official representative until their forces arrive to restore order. The Doctor leaves Charlotte to take care of the crowd while he and Hex usher Ace off-stage and depart (in the TARDIS, though nobody on stage realises it). Unfortunately, in their absence, the enraged Premier grabs the mic and tries to address the crowd, refusing to accept defeat. The guards move in to restrain him, and in the confusion, he falls from the balcony into the midst of the angry mob. Charlotte tries in vain to restrain them, and the Premier screams as the people close in on him... and at this point, the live broadcast is cut off.

Source: Cameron Dixon
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